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Stanford Senate Speaks Out Against Scott Atlas

November 23, 2020

Stanford University’s Faculty Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution against Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution who is currently serving as a senior adviser to President Trump. The resolution, introduced by a group of Stanford medical and infectious disease experts who previously criticized Atlas as downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, condemns Atlas’s Nov. 5 tweet calling on Michigan to “rise up” against Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer’s new COVID-19-related restrictions. The tweet, which has since been deleted, said, "The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept." Atlas later tweeted that he would never incite violence. Whitmer was the target of a political kidnapping plot revealed earlier this year.

The faculty resolution also calls on Stanford to forcefully disavow Atlas’s actions, saying he’s used his credentials to promote dangerous falsehoods and behaviors. Atlas’s “disdain for established medical knowledge violates medical ethics defined by the American Medical Association,” the resolution says. Atlas's “behavior is anathema to our community, our values, and our belief that we should use knowledge for good.”

Atlas did not respond to a request for comment. Stanford previously said that Atlas “has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic.” Atlas’s statements “reflect his personal views, not those of the Hoover Institution or the university,” the university said. “Stanford’s “position on managing the pandemic in our community is clear. We support using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing. We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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